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3rd Christian College Bracing For Gay Protest

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3rd Christian College Bracing For Gay Protest

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

March 15, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(Cleveland, Tennessee) As the bus carrying several dozen gays and lesbians heads down the highway toward Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee officials at the school are declining to say if members of the group will be arrested if they try to enter the campus on Thursday.

Lee is the third school to be targeted by the Equality Ride a 51 day cross-country trip organized by the nondenominational group Soulforce to draw attention to colleges and military academies that discriminate against LGBT students.

Tuesday seven riders were arrested as they tried to enter Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (story)

Regent, which is affiliated with Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson, says it does not bar gay enrolment, but its student handbook states "...homosexual conduct or any other conduct, which violates Biblical standards, is prohibited."

Last week Last week 24 members of the group were arrested when the entered Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (story)

In a message to students at Lee University president Dr. Paul Conn said the riders should be treated with courtesy.

"Although it's evident to us that Soulforce is using Lee University as a platform for media coverage, I have strongly urged our students and staff to maintain an environment of civility and Christian kindness," he said in a statement.

"Our response should be in the spirit of Jesus Christ, which is no condemnation of the Riders, but no compromise of our Christian beliefs and spiritual values." He said all activities on campus will go on as planned for the two days of the visit.

Conn said that the riders had asked to enter the campus to meet with students and to hold a prayer service with them. In his statement Conn dismissed the request.

"There is no commitment to dialogue by this group," he said, "they only want to deliver their point of view."

But he would not say whether members of the group would be arrested if they entered the campus to speak with the students.

The Equality Ride will visit 18 schools including West Point and Brigham Young University.

©365Gay.com 2006

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